Planning permission - how to submit an application online, by post or in person

Guidance on when and how to apply for planning permission is provided below.

When you'll need planning permission
The type of work you intend to carry out will determine if you need planning permission or building regulation approval.

 Further information, which your may find helpful, can be found in the publication, "Your Home and Planning Permission", also available as a downloadable PDF document at the foot of this page..

Do I need planning permission?

You may need to apply to the Council for the following types of consent:

  • Planning permission for building works (including new buildings, structures and external alterations, change to ground levels, mining operations and changes of use of land or buildings)
  • Advertisement Consent for new signage
  • Listed Building Consent for external, or internal, alterations to the built fabric of a Listed Building
  • Conservation Area Consent to demolish a building or structure in a Conservation Area (where the structure exceeds 115 cubic metres)
  • Works to any tree(s) covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO)
  • Works to any tree(s) within a conservation area 

Permitted development

Certain minor works or uses do not require planning permission from us and may be carried out as ‘permitted development’. The specific rules for permitted development are set out in the Planning (General Permitted Development) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015. This includes certain proposals within the curtilage of a dwelling house, some changes of use and other minor operations. You can find further advice on when planning permission is required on the Planning Portal. If you would like us to confirm whether your proposal requires planning permission, you can apply for a Certificate of Lawful Use or Development (Proposed). This is a legally binding decision from the council and may be useful confirmation when you come to sell your home or property.

Deemed advertisement consent

Certain adverts and signs can be erected without the need for Advertisement Consent. These circumstances are set out in Schedules 2 and 3 of the Advertisement Regulations. 

How to apply for planning permission (online, by post or in person)


From 5th December 2022, applications can be submitted online, with an accompanying card or BACS payment, through the NI Planning Portal at this link:


Hard-copy applications, however, can still be submitted. Application forms are available in two ways:

  • you can print the form and complete it by hand or type your application and then print
    Download an application form  -- CLICK on PDF version at foot of page
  • other types of digital application form (Advertising Consent, Listed Building Consent, Non Material Change etc) are available on request by contacting the Planning Office
  • you can also call into our public office on Church Street in Newtownards and collect an application form
  • any hard-copy applications received without an accompanying fee will be returned unlogged
  • hard-copy applications must be accompanied by a cheque made payable to Ards and North Down BC or else, if hand-delivered, a card payment can be made at reception


Read our "Guide to the Planning Application Process" – guide for applicants and interested parties

      Find information here to guide you through the planning application process.

Application Checklists

       Check BELOW the information you need to submit as part of your planning application:

           Application Checklist  - its purpose and benefit to you

             3 Appendices to the Checklist:

                  1. Appendix 1 - Information Checklist

                  2. Appendix 2 - Basic Requirements

                  3. Appendix 3 - Other Supporting Information


Free Planning Advice for Local Communities (Community Places)

  • Community Places offers free, independent and confidential advice to people and communities who cannot afford to pay a private consultant
  • they cannot provide help if you have already employed a planning agent or another party to act in that capacity
  • they are also unable to provide assistance to businesses, political parties, or people who wish to object to social/affordable housing
  • you can download their leaflet by clicking on the PDF document at the foot of the page
  • the Community Places website can be accessed via this link

Contacting a Registered Architect

If you are considering employing an architect, ensure they are registered with the Architects’ Registration Board – the statutory body which maintains the Register listing every architect in the UK.

Here is the link to the Architects' Register.

Returning your application for planning permission

For your application to be processed it must be accompanied by the appropriate fee and relevant supporting documentation

Application fees
You can pay your fee:

  • by cheque made payable to Ards and North Down Borough Council
  • by debit or credit card, in person only, at our planning offices
  • additional fees/payments due for previously submitted applications can may be made using a credit/debit card over the phone
  • new PLANNING FEES, effective from 6th April 2023, can be viewed here

Completed application forms and fees can be submitted

  • by post (you must enclose a cheque made payable to Ards and North Down Borough Council)
  • in person at our public office (a cheque or card payment will be accepted at reception upon point of submission)
  • any hard-copy application submitted without an accompanying fee will be returned to the agent/applicant


Development following planning approval – CDM Regulations

Once planning permission has been granted, the development should be carried out in compliance with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (NI) 2016 issued by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland.”